July 17, 2009

Send letters to WaPo re: Olmert twaddle on settlements

The following is from a US-based media watchdog, July 17:

WRITE! For Justice, Human Rights and International Law in Palestine  

Today, a Washington Post op-ed by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert 'How to Achieve a Lasting Peace' (7/17) rebukes the Obama administration's call for an Israeli settlement freeze, endorses "natural growth" himself, and maintains the US focus on settlements "has the potential to greatly shake US-Israeli relations."  In the op-ed, Olmert characterizes the focus on a settlement freeze as a waste of time and a "non-priority issue."

Olmert argues that "settlement construction should be taken off the public agenda and moved to a discrete dialogue, as in the past" allowing the US and Israel to deal with the "essential issues" (i.e. those not concerning Israeli actions).  He emphasizes previous "understandings" with the Bush administation on settlement construction but refuses to accept responsibility for Israel's commitments under the road map (which explicitly rejected natural growth - see Kurtzer op-ed here), the Annapolis framework (see PLO Negotiations Affairs Department report link), or international law generally.

Rather than explain 'How to Achieve a Lasting Peace' as the misleading title suggests, Olmert simply blames Palestinians for rejecting a proposal at the end of his term which would have kept most of the settlers in the West Bank and otherwise fell short of Israel's international obligations -- the op-ed contains no mention of the Arab Peace Initiative which offers a comprehensive resolution to the conflict (see op-ed by Shaikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa) or why the US and Israel rejected it.

Please WRITE! to the Washington Post letters [@] washpost.com, it is critical that we correct the record on Olmert's PR piece, which is sure to draw a heavy response. Be sure to keep letters under 150 words, and include your name, address and daytime phone number for verification purposes only.

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